Signs for FIRST NATIONS

How do you sign "First Nations" or "Native Americans"?

Definition: (Canadian English word): any of the groups of indigenous peoples of Canada. The term is generally understood to exclude the Inuit and Metis.

This is the common ASL sign around for a long time. It's the same sign for "Native American".

An emerging sign (horizontal "V" handshape, palm in, moves across the cheek) was proposed for some reasons in around 2017 by a few indigenous Deaf Americans on social media. This led to discussions for some time, before the decision to keep the long-standing sign was made.

In January 2019, a video was posted on social media, stating "The Deaf Native United hereby recognizes the official sign for Native Americans, used by deaf Native Americans from across the United States and Canada." showing a series of Deaf Native Americans signing the "F" version of the sign.

Related signs

"Native is sometimes used as a simple adjective to abbreviate one of these terms, as in Pacific Native art. In summary, Native American is the most common and neutral term in the US, while First Nations is the preferred term in Canada, although both exclude the Inuit. Indian is acceptable in the US, but should be avoided in Canada. Aboriginal is the only common umbrella term encompassing First Nations, Inuit and Métis in Canada, but it is not used in US English." -- Ref

Other related signs: indigenous, Plains Indian Sign Language.

First Nations in Canada: Ojibway, Dene, Dakota, Metis, Ininew (Cree), Mi'kmaq.


If you are Deaf First Nations, you're welcome to submit your video clips, signing related terms (e.g. your tribe), to this site.

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